The Stafford County Board of Supervisors voted this week to allocate $7.2 million for the school system’s proposed purchase of a shuttered Christian school off Garrisonville Road.
School Board members plan to turn the 20-classroom school into a public preschool for Head Start students from North Stafford and 3- and-4-year-olds with disabilities. The Early Childhood Special Education Program for the preschoolers with disabilities meets in various elementary schools, and moving them to a single facility would free a significant amount of classroom space.
Fredericksburg Christian School owns the 21-acre campus, but closed it last year because of a lack of demand.
Supervisors, who determine how much county tax money schools receive, assigned another $281,500 for the design of renovations to the former Christian school at 101 Shepherds Way near the corner of Garrisonville and Shelton Shop roads. But they held off on appropriating the project’s approximately $3.2 million balance, which includes about $2.5 million to rehab the school before it is scheduled to open next summer.
In a separate vote, supervisors authorized borrowing up to $25 million for schools, most of which would go toward renovations to Ferry Farm Elementary School and the School Board’s purchase of the former Christian school. They subsequently voted to allocate about $7.4 million of that money for the Christian school purchase and to design repairs to Rock Hill Elementary School’s mechanical systems.
The county plans to fund projects in increments so that it does not transfer more money to schools than necessary.
Supervisors also approved paying, rather than borrowing, $2.6 million for the design of Ferry Farm’s facelift and renovations to A.G. Wright Middle School and Garrisonville Elementary School.
Over the past several months, supervisors and School Board members have discussed buying the Christian school to relieve overcrowding in some elementary schools. But supervisors would not fund the purchase until the School Board formally committed to redrawing elementary school attendance zones by next school year.
The School Board voted last week to commit to that process and plans to hire a consultant to come up with redistricting proposals to address over- and under-crowded elementary schools.